Asset Management Tools and Information Systems

Significant quantities of asset data are collected, stored and used for a variety of asset management functions and analyses. Computerized tools and integrated information systems can interconnect various databases containing this high volume of detailed information. These tools and systems can enable a utility to implement a comprehensive and cost effective approach to asset identification analysis and management.

Tools and Databases
Most utilities already have many of the ingredients of an asset management information system including various tools, models and databases. Some of the more common components that are relevant to asset management include the following:

  • Maintenance Management Systems. These systems typically include asset inventory, work order management and history, condition assessment and rehabilitation prioritization.
  • Customer Information System. These systems commonly contain payment history, work order history by customer location, and customer correspondence including compliance and billing data.
  • Finance Databases and Models. Databases may include billing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, tax data, budgeting and forecasting, valuations and debt management.
  • Financial Models for Developing User Rates and Replacement Planning Models may also exist in some utilities.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Since much of a utility’s asset information can be tied to a geographic location, another significant element of an asset management system is a CADD or GIS-based map of fixed assets and related data.
  • Capital Planning Data. Most utilities have some type of database related to their facility capital improvement projects. Data may be organized by time increment and type.
  • Business Processes. Individual functional groups within a utility often maintain some information related to their key business processes and standard operating procedures. Sometimes performance measures or targets may also be included.

Integrated Information Systems

In most utilities the databases and tools as described above are islands of separate data and are dispersed throughout the organization. Access to the data by other sections within the utility is often difficult, which limits the effectiveness of the organizations knowledge base. Various data integration options exist, including enterprise resource, planning applications, web-based systems that link databases and other specialized software. Before embarking on an asset management integration effort, a utility needs to consider several factors including: leveraging existing information technology investments, phased versus one time migration to an integrated system, and cultural and financial limitations.

This chapter of the Resource Guide compiles a list of references and other data sources as well as case examples related to asset management tools and information systems.

Resource List

14. Beason, Michelle. “The Role of GIS in Asset Management,” AWWA 2001 Infrastructure Conference Proceedings.

15. Berger, David. “CMMS and EAM today: These Management Tools Analyze Data Across the Enterprise.” Plant Services. February 1, 2000.

16. Bever, Ken. “Understanding Plant Asset Management Systems.” Maintenance Technology. July 2000.

17. Booth, Ron and John Rogers. “Using GIS Technology to Manage Infrastructure Capital Assets.” AWWA Journal. November 2001, pages 62-8.

18. Campbell, Patrick, Arnaud Judet, and David Fortune, “Integrated Reporting Systems for Effective Asset Management,” AWWA – Infrastructure Conference Proceedings, 2000.

19. Cardazone, Richard. “Infrastructure and Asset Management – Practical Tools and Approaches,” NEWEA Conference, January 2003.

20. Carroll, Andy and Ken Wilmot. “Building a Plant Asset Information Database.” Maintenance Technology. September 2003.

21. Christian, Sean and Gary Yoshida. “Mapping Out Success – With a GIS, a Good Picture Can Be With a Thousand Plans.” WE&T. August 2003. Pages 50-5.

22. Delaney, Kevin. “The Evolution of Enterprise Asset Management.” Pumps & Systems. September 2003.

23. Grosch, Raymond. “The Digital Nervous System – Integrated Plant Management and Control is the Next Wave in Information Management.” WE&T. August 2003. Pages 43-9.

24. Kindrachuk, Gene. “Integration of Asset Management and GIS.” GITA Conference, Sydney, Australia. August 2001.

25. Mather, D. CMMS: A Timesaving Implementation Process. CRC Press, 2003.

26. Merritt, Rich. “Gather Intelligence.” Plant Services. December 2003. 

27. Morgan, Thomas and Edward Wagner. “Infrastructure Capital Assets Management Institute Tools for Utilities.” Utility Executive. September/October 2001.

28. Regan, Ted. “A CMMS One Tool in the Asset Management Toolbox,” NEWEA Annual Conference, January 2003.

29. Roberts, Allen. “GIS: A Powerful, Versatile Management Tool.” WE&T: 2003 Buyers Guide. Pages 19-21.